Go to any blog and you will see the free report and subscriber’s box. They can come in many shapes and promises. It doesn’t matter if it is subtle in the layout or a pop-up overlay – the free report is one of the best ways to obtain subscribers. If you attach it with an affiliate promotion, it is one of the best ways to land subscribers AND high number sales.
It turns out though, most of us get the free report – wrong. I am here to tell you what you can do about that.
When I Say We, I Include Me
I have developed a number of reports over the years. It has taken me years, but I have 10,000+ subscribers and a high “open” rating. That last part is extremely significant because a list is only good if people are opening what you send them. I constantly update my list, organize it, and confirm contact with my readers. When I had 5,000 subscribers, it was more active than some people’s 25,000.
In the beginning, I didn’t offer a report. In fact, I didn’t bother with people signing up at all. Some of my highest influx days I ever had to my blog, I never captured a single visitor. In fact, I have most likely lost over 100,000’s of subscribers, easily. It is gut wrenching to think about it, but now I put 100% into growing my subscriber and contact list.
Where The Report Comes In
People don’t trust you. People don’t want to give you their email. People are jaded from years of spam and b.s. promotions. Convincing someone to hand over their email is harder than their money. In fact, I have had people give me almost $80.00 for an ebook, but never sign up for my mailing list or update list for the product they just bought. Nowadays, especially with Twitter, Facebook and other networking sites, people are protecting their email more and more. It is your job to do the following:
- Prove you deserve it.
- Give them something for giving you their email.
- Treat the email with respect once you have it.
The first two things can be done with a free report. With the right report, you can give them comfort for trusting you with their email, and show them that they were right to do it. The last thing you want to do is pull them in with a flashy report and then not deliver the goods. You have to think of this as an extremely beneficial impression. If you nail this introduction and trust process, you will automatically be in your readers’ good graces. If you treat them right, don’t spam them, and deliver on your word – it will stay that way.
The free report is better than any business card you can hand out.
Give The Cow Away, Because Most Can’t Milk It
Often times I see people guarding their information as if it is all they have left. Let me tell you something, information is all you have. You need to lead with it, not guard it. Guarding your information means one thing – no one ever knows you have it or who you are.
I have grown and still grow my business based on the fact that I answer all questions without the statement “Buy my book.” I could count on my hands the amount of times I have told someone to buy one of my books in a one-on-one conversation. If I do so, it is merely to make things easier.
You need to come to terms with the fact that you aren’t special. Lots of people can do what you do and find the information you can find. If you look at yourself as 1% number in the world, it will only lead to paranoia and resentment towards others.
People have an amazing ability to learn and create things. The information isn’t special, it is the application and action that is distinctive. It is action that is rare, not what action is. A lot of people can sing, but most people are not going to go out, set up live shows, tour the country and try to make a living from it. Thus, stars are born because they tried. Don’t believe me, check out Youtube channels where phenomenal talent is being seen by 102 views in the entire world.
The most valuable lesson to take away from this is – don’t hold back! Throw out all you have to give and then give a little more. Yaro is an outstanding example of this. In his free report, he gives you all you need and then some to begin on your journey. What do you learn from his report? That he knows bounties of information, he can be trusted, and he has talent in his field. Would you have learned that without his free report? Maybe, because his blog is full of excellent content, but content all in one place helps with falling attention spans.
- Go the extra mile. Do what the others won’t do.
- Put your best information forward; don’t hide.
- Tackle a topic the people want, not necessarily what you want.
- Consider hiring a cover artist or editor.
- Hold a contest or giveaway; promote the report.
- Make it at least ten pages of quality content. The more, the better. People like quantity and quality.
- If it isn’t strong enough, change it. When it is right, keep it. Don’t keep changing your report. If you land on a winner, keep the winner. It has been years and Yaro still has the same free report. You know why? Because it is a winner.
You touched a great point here. Many people think that it is just about creating a free report and for this simple reason they fail.
People that don’t know you don’t want to give you their personal information because they don’t trust you.
Think about what you would like to know before giving your personal information to someone. You have to make people understand that what you are giving away has a great value…
Move the free line and create a report that you can sell for at least $50 and explain to your visitors how they can benefit from it and why they need it now.
Great expansion on what I stated Reymond.
Awesome article Leigh. Love the Final Points in particular. # Go the extra mile. Do what the others won’t do. # Put your best information forward; don’t hide. # Tackle a topic the people want, not necessarily what you want. If everyone follow these, I bet success is not far away.
Facebook Fans Samurai eh?
Looks more like a link to get some sales rather than to actually contribute to the community lol..you really out did it too.
Nice little italics comment..attractive blond girl in the avatar..sneaky sneaky!
First of all, I do enjoy the article; but that doesn’t mean I have to write a 500-word follow-up comment. Second of all, yes a little promotion along with one’s comment never hurts anyone. I’m disappointed at how you take me. :'(
Haha it’s all love
Maybe the eBook in question will actually help you seeing as how you have only 8 Likes to your Facebook page. I’m just saying.
Sorry for hijacking the comments section Leigh.
Good night Chris!
Very informative article Leigh. People nowadys are very resistant to give their email address. A lot of our readers subscribe to other internet marketers lists and are always given a lot of information. We need to do something out of the box to actually grab attention and get that edge over others.
The final points was the icying on the article. Again an awesome article Leigh.
Great post, Leigh. I have just gotten started in internet marketing, and my bog is only getting a handful of visitors so far. I haven’t even set up a mailing list yet, but this post is making me realize how important it is going to be to have one very soon. I just need to get some more good content up first and produce a report (or maybe even an eBook) to help me build my list.
I’m in the same exact boat as you man, I’ve had my blog up for almost 3 months now as soon as March 1st hits, launched it on new years. The one thing I can say is to just keep learning from other blogs.
Now I’m only 3 months in but I can tell you a few things I’ve learned. Don’t put the opt in box up unless you’re absolutely sure you can deliver. If you can look yourself in the mirror and say “I’m the shit and I know everything about this topic” then go ahead and put out a report or eBook.
The minute you second guess yourself you’ve already lost belief. So make sure you believe in what you’re doing or else no one else will either. The reason I’ve yet to throw an opt in box up is because I’m only 3 months into this whole internet marketing, business and blogging stuff!
Who am I to tell thousands of readers what I know in an eBook? Haha I’ve barely been around! To me it’s not fair to my visitors and readers to put knowledge out there to them that even I fully don’t understand yet.
So again start out but just getting involved in other communities..here’s what I’ve done maybe you can take some good stuff from this
-Pick 5 blogs that you’re going to follow, comment on 1 post a day, help other people out if you think you know the answer or even ask questions. Plain and simple..GET INVOLVED AND BE ACTIVE.
-Ask other known bloggers or up and coming bloggers for interviews. This way you can show them credit for their growing success and buld a solid relationship. This might also help you get a link from there blog to yours telling there readers to go check out your interview, in return this means more viewers for your blog.
– Expand your horizons. Do writing, video, podcasting, singing, dancing, whatever you can think of! Do it! You want to look at every other blogger and think hmmm..what is everyone else doing? And then do the complete opposite! Meaning do you. Be unique, creative, different.
I’ve got some more stuff piled up in this thing I call my brain but I can’t really get it out right now..so that’s all I’ve got for now..hope this helped brotha!
This is one of those posts that make the light bulb go on over my head; I don’t even have to think about it because its truth is self evident.
Just to show this isn’t one of those generic spam comments, I’ll go a little deeper. LOL
I’ve been blogging off and on for about seven years now. I’ve had a fairly successful blog, at least in terms of traffic, but tended to prefer the more intimate feeling of a blog where people aren’t just posting comments to get backlinks. In other words, I’m more interested in blogging when it makes a connection. Unfortunately, I haven’t really done much to increase the number of readers I make a connection with, but grow dissatisfied when I don’t see my readers grow. Sort of a catch-22. What I see after reading your post is that I need to spill the beans.
I have some good ideas, things I think people would want to learn from what I know, but I’ve been holding them as sacred cows. What I need to do is get them written down, give them away, then see what I have left that people might want. The water in our cups grows stagnant if we’re not constantly pouring it out and replacing it with something fresh. It’s time to pour out that water and see what the fresh water will taste like!
Spill those beans brotha!
I think that’s the one mistake most of us make is holding back. If Thomas Edison had invented the light bulb but didn’t tell anyone about it how much longer do you think it would have been before we had light bulbs? I don’t know about you but I like having lights, so thank you Mr. Thomas Edison for not being a secret keeper.
Now I can’t pick your brain and tell you what to put out there for your readers, but go all out. Whatever you think you have the best knowledge in then spread the shit out of it lol. I’m talking over deliver and really spread it out there!
Most importantly make sure you believe in what you’re putting out there, or another way I like to say it “believe your own hype.” If you don’t believe in it then why would anyone else? Other than that you got it Terry, keep on keeping on. The toughest time for an entrepreneur is when you don’t see results..that’s called the lonely desert. No one’s around but you, and only you can get yourself out of there.
Discouragement is human nature so expect it. But it’s discouragement and tough times that separates failures and winners. Be a winner bud!
Thanks for sharing a great post, Leigh! 😀
Especially loved your points about giving the cow away because most can’t milk it anyway. 🙂 So true…
So many people operate their business with a mindset of insufficiency, whereas in truth there is an abundance out there, and you can never run out of it even if you give it all away.
I have wondered how I could improve my free report and this post answers a lot of questions. Looks like I have some changes to make on my site.
i’m french, and i’m beginning on the blogging –
just one word to say your tips are greats !!!!
thanks a lot
Hi Leigh thank you very much for your information! It’s very informative. I really like this point
Treat the email with respect once you have it.
I don’t know why some internet guru that I subscribe only promotion after promotion.
I’m still beginner on the milestone to become a successful blogger, and I believe writing my own ebook or free report would me my next huge milestone that I should take to bring my blog to the next level.
Thanks Leigh, these information would be so valuable for me when I’m on that stage of working up my free report. 😀
That was a great article with some very useful (and simple) tips.
I like the part about ‘not holding back’ and ‘giving your best’. I think it’s excellent advice to really put a lot of effort into your free report.
Thanks for reminding us of creating a valuable report. Great tips on what we need to put in our report.
Give all the bucket, that’s key.
I’m with you Leigh – don’t hide it, put your best out. I think it’s a strong practice to show what you’ve got and then they may come back for more. Have the confidence to show your hand and then others will come and shake it.
That makes sense I suppose. I’ve just started my online marketing journey with a free report squeeze page and it is converting pretty well but I have not made a cent from it! I’m not sure how I’m going to monitize my list yet, I’m still working on it. Loads more reseach for me I guess.
It’s good to know that I’m going on in the right direction though, thanks!
When you say all bloggers have an opt-in box, I’m the 1 exception that doesn’t! Haha I’ve yet to get that far in my blogging but in due time! Maybe that’s what I’ll start working on next, a free ebook or a newsletter? I just haven’t gotten to it because I don’t feel I have the knowledge in this industry.
Obviously the knowledge and wisdom will come with time, but it’s bad business to just put an eBook or newsletter out without really knowing anything in the first place you know?
But yeah you’ve definitely got to give away everything you know. In this business there really are no secrets because wherever someone learned something was knowledge that got passed on. So when you think you have a “secret to SEO!” it’s most likely 99% bs..but hey if you do have that secret then give it away and spread the love. You’ll end up being a pioneer..
Great advice though, I’ll definitely be coming back to re-read this article and take your advice when I start writing an eBook or newsletter. You should do a demonstration on how to install a sweet looking opt-in box. I’ve seen some on youtube but they’re crappy. I want a nice one! haha alright Leigh good talk
Good day, Fantastic site, where did you occur up with the info in this summation?
Im glad I discovered it though, I am going to be checking back soon to see what other articles or blog posts you have.
It could not be better said. If you give people valuable info for free I am sure some will buy your products just because they are thankfull you helped them. At least
so am I.
Fantastic Article Leigh with some great tips its amazing how many new things you can learn by just reading great articles thanks agin
I know that lists come in handy when you are selling stuff online but what about for local services…. do you collect names and emails just to send them coupons?
I would like to send out a monthly newsletter as opposed to a e-report. Do you think that internet readers are still interested in newsletters anymore or are they looking for more substantial pieces of information, such as an e-book?
Newsletters are great, but you could find a better purpose (IMHO) with mixing it with a monthly e-course. You can keep your readers up-to-date on what is going on with your site, along with a lesson, recurring theme, etc. It is more exciting and create more value to the reader. Remember, it is about what they can get from you (and with giving their email) that they can’t get elsewhere. Email is a commodity, you have to earn it.
You always continue to impress me. I have been struggling with my email list for a while now. The free eBook I offer is ok but my list isn’t growing. The other issue I have is that I am failing to send out the quality of newsletter I need to be.
Thanks for the eye opening post!
The people with good intentions and quality information need to always step-up their game. Keep fighting that good fight Steve.
Kendra, I will tell you that what I like is an e-book, even if it’s very short, especially if it’s something I really wanna learn from. (Not something everyone else is offering on their websites. 🙂 So do your research first, on what to offer.)
There is soo many ‘e-letters’ out there, and it can get frustrating, especially if they are weekly or more common. Some are just ads+ an article or a few, or not even that. A monthly newsletter might be okay, but consider are you going to keep it up?
(Someone I greatly admire and respect only made a few newsletters and then got bored with them!)
There may actually be less work involved with an e-book and then the process can be automated… You have to make a monthly e-letter umm, monthly.. (=not passive income) So, hm?
Only you know your readers, and of course you can always ask them too. 🙂
Terry, I hear you on wanting to keep it more intimate lol. Am still undecided between wanting a more intimate blog (or a few) and a ‘bigger’ one, and what to have for which one… lol 🙂
I don’t think you necessarily need to ‘spill all your beans’, some people make a plan of what they want their readers to learn (kinda like a ‘lecture plan’ or ‘learning plan’/strategy… ) and you can tease them about something and include it in a paid e-book too…
It depends what you write about and what you monetize… For weight-loss, I can totally see how support and community can be more important than actual info that is in many places online anyway… If your info is really unique and not available anywhere else, you may want to monetize the info in a second e-book ‘for sale’ -?
Jennifer, I think for local services it could be even more important, depending on your strategy and your biz… (You could promote specials or any events etc…-?)
Some people may love coupons, some may hate ’em, find out what your clients are like…?
One must work hard and not regret about the results. If it doesn’t work, at least you know you did what you could. I agree with all the points Leigh. A very well done article. Thanks for imparting your knowledge with us. 🙂
The difficult thing is how to keep the attractive level so our subcribers will always love our free report. And that point, clearly explained in this article. Thank you Leigh for sharing your knowledge.
I have never been able to generate a large number of subscribers in the past, but this sounds like exactly what I needed on how to do it. I hope to eventually give this a try. Thanks so much for sharing Leigh.
It seems like a free report should be chalk full of usable quality information that subscribers will be amazed they are receiving for free. I always think that webmasters should over deliver with their free reports or ebooks.
I also agree that not abusing your list includes not sending out constant emails with the newest product launch. The less you send emails the better.
Wow, i haven’t got this idea till now. I will start now. And i will try to write a good free report now.
Insightful article here…
It always pays to give out valuable content in exchange for peoples’ emails.
and one point I’ll like to point out is that; it’s okay to follow your subscribers up with non promotional valuable contents also.
You can lead them to a blog where you have some banners beside.
That’s a great non direct marketing method I guess!
Great article. Great info.
Building a subscriber base is certainly what any enterprising netpreneur would seriously think of doing.
The free report is certainly one way to achieve this. You have touched on so many fine points here.
I really appreciate this article. Kudos.
Great article here!
It’s so true that so few are willing to do what it takes, but you’ve highlighted it wonderfully. It’s important to give your best stuff free and just offer as much value to people as you can. If you’re sincere and your channels are open, you will prosper from this mindset.
Thanks a lot!
Great points Leigh,
Do you know of any good free reports that would be good templates to use?